There’s an age-old belief that soy is bad for men. The theory goes that since soy contains high levels of phytoestrogens, it can lower testosterone levels in men and lead to a host of problems like infertility and the dreaded “man boobs”.
While this claim is widely circulated across the Internet, it’s important to understand that these studies are outdated and inflated. For most men, soy has no effect whatsoever on their testosterone levels—both in a positive and negative sense.
Soy is a legume that contains compounds called isoflavones. Soy isoflavones are thought to be estrogen-like and act as phytoestrogens in the body. In short, they can bind to estrogen receptors and mimic the hormone’s effects.
Even though some sources affirm this notion, other reports debunked it, saying that soy consumption doesn’t promote any untoward effects on certain subpopulations and is completely safe for consumption, except for those who are allergic to soy protein.
So, which is which? Let’s take a look at the evidence.
What Components Are Found in Soy?
Fermented soy foods are an excellent source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids required by the human body. In addition to protein, dietary soy products contain water, fiber, healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals.
The main active component in soybeans is a class of compounds called isoflavones. Isoflavones are structurally similar to the hormone estrogen and can bind to both estrogen receptors (ERs) and testosterone receptors in the body.
The two main isoflavones found in soybeans are genistein and daidzein. Genistein is considered to be the more potent of the two, with daidzein having weaker estrogenic effects.
Aside from that, soy is rich in a variety of different nutrients. These nutrients are important for maintaining normal testosterone levels, as well as supporting overall hormone health.
Here’s what a 100-gram portion of boiled soybeans looks like:
- Calories: 173
- Carbs: 9.9 grams
- Protein: 16.6 grams
- Sugar: 3 grams
- Fiber: 6 grams
- Fat: 9 grams
- Water: 63%
Based on the nutrition data above, soy is an excellent plant-based alternative to meat products when it comes to protein. It’s also a good source of fiber and fat.
Vitamins and Minerals in Soy
Soy is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. These include:
- Folate: Folate or Vitamin B9 is important for cell growth, DNA repair, and the production of new cells.
- Molybdenum: Molybdenum is a trace mineral that helps to break down and detoxify sulfur-containing amino acids.
- Phosphorus: Phosphorus is an essential mineral that helps to control gene expression, regulate cell membrane function, and support healthy bone density.
- Vitamin K1: Vitamin K1 is important for blood clotting, bone health, and the prevention of heart disease.
- Thiamine: Thiamine or Vitamin B1 helps to break down carbohydrates and is important for nerve function.
- Copper: Copper is a trace mineral that helps the body to produce red blood cells and hemoglobin.
With all these health benefits, it’s no wonder why soy is thought to be good for men and their testosterone levels.
There’s also less saturated fat observed in soy-based isoflavone supplements, making it a heart-healthy alternative to other food products.
List of Soy Foods
Not all soy-based foods are made the same. Some foods are higher in isoflavones than others, while some are processed and may contain added sugar or unhealthy fats.
Here’s a list of some common fermented and unfermented soy foods:
- Soy milk
- Soy nuts
The Connection Between Soy and Testosterone Levels
Many sources continue to claim that soy can lower testosterone levels in men.
However, these studies are largely unfounded and are often based on animal studies or studies that used isolated soy compounds rather than whole soy foods.
In fact, many of these studies fail to take into account the normal consumption of soy in a typical setting. Moderation is the key here, and it’s not questionable to assume that eating abnormally large amounts of any food can have adverse effects.
To add to that, yes, eating too much soy may cause a hormonal imbalance in some men, particularly those who were already nutrient-deficient in key nutrients.
However, if your diet is already poor, eating copious amounts of soy foods won’t magically reverse your condition.
So, does ingesting soy in moderation harm testosterone levels and erectile function, such as causing ED?
For the majority of the male population, your soy intake won’t raise or lower your testosterone levels or erectile function. Soy is completely safe to eat and is not going to have a significant impact on your testosterone levels.
As long as you eat the recommended amount of 25 grams of soy a day, you likely won’t experience any problems in your sexual health.
In fact, you’re more likely to experience health benefits from eating soy if you’re deficient in key nutrients.
Health Benefits of Soy
If not as a testosterone-boosting food, then what exactly is soy good for? Here are some benefits of incorporating soy into your daily diet:
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Prevents prostate cancer
- Lowers breast cancer risk
- Lower blood pressure
- Protect the heart
While it’s true that soy does contain isoflavones, neither soy foods nor soy supplements contain dietary antioxidants that mirror estrogen or testosterone hormones to a T.
As long as you don’t exceed the recommended serving size of 25 grams per day and lose excess weight, soy is completely safe to consume.
Foods That Increase Testosterone Levels
If you’re looking for foods that will help to increase your testosterone levels, here are some of the best options:
- Eggs: Eggs are rich in protein and contain all nine essential amino acids, which are necessary for testosterone production.
- Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, a necessary mineral for testosterone production.
- Oysters: Oysters are considered a natural aphrodisiac and are also high in zinc.
- Beef: Beef is a great source of animal protein and also contains the mineral iron, which is necessary for testosterone production.
- Spinach: Spinach is high in magnesium, a mineral that has been shown to increase testosterone levels.
Contact Ft. Lauderdale’s Leading Men’s Clinic for a Consultation
While some male sex myths and studies claim that soy is bad for you, these studies work under the assumption that you’re eating abnormally large amounts of soy.
If you moderate your intake to the recommended serving size of 25 grams per day, you won’t experience any adverse effects on your testosterone levels or libido issues related to sex drive.
In fact, you’ll likely be experiencing health benefits from consuming soy in moderation, including lowered cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and protection of the heart.
So, is soy bad for men? The answer is no, as long as you’re eating it in moderation.
If you want to learn more about soy and its effects on testosterone or erectile dysfunction, as well as tips for increasing your testosterone levels naturally, contact the team at Preferred Men’s Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale now to schedule an appointment to have a consultation with an experienced and specially trained medical staff. We are Ft Lauderdale’s leading men’s clinic providing ED therapy, PE therapy, Acoustic Wave therapy, hormone therapy, and much more.